Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Martina Navrátilová (born October 18, 1956) is a Czech-born American tennis player. She played on the WTA Tour, competing in singles from 1973 until 1994. She won 18 major singles titles from 1978-1990 (including nine at Wimbledon, winning six in a row from 1982-1987), 167 singles tournaments and 174 doubles tournaments, including 31 in the major competitions. Martina Navratilova also won 9 mixed doubles majors.
She was born in Prague and grew up in the Krkonose region. When her parents separated she went with her mother to Revnice where she became interested in tennis. Her mother re-married in 1962 and her stepfather, Mirek Navratil, became her first coach. She played in her first junior tournament in 1964 and began working with George Parma . She became a professional player in 1973, reaching the quarter-finals of her first Grand Slam event. In September 1975 she took up permanent residence in the US after the tournament in New York City (she became a US citizen in 1981).
Initially unsuccessful, it was not until 1978 that she won her first major title, beating Chris Evert to win the Wimbledon women's singles. A rigorous training regime finally showed its worth from 1982 when she won fifteen singles and fourteen doubles tournaments in that year, and 28 in the following year. In 1983 and 1984, she won six consecutive Grand Slam singles events, but missed out on the Grand Slam in singles in both years, losing in the 1983 French Open and 1984 Australian Open. She had an extended and fiercely competitive on-court rivalry with Chris Evert, a clash of contrasting styles that lasted until Evert retired in 1989.
Martina Navratilova won the doubles Grand Slam partnering Pam Shriver in 1984.
The rise of young female stars in the late 1980s broke Navratilova's dominance. In 1991 she lost the U.S Open final to Monica Seles. One of her last tournament titles was in 1993, when she beat Seles to win the Paris Open . She announced her intention to retire from the WTA Tour at the end of 1994 and in that year she still made the Wimbledon final, losing to Conchita Martinez.
Off-court matters have often coloured Navratilova's performances. In 1980 Navratilova had announced she was bisexual in response to US media speculation about her relationship with Rita Mae Brown; this frankness cost her sponsors. From 1983 until 1991 her partner was Judy Nelson; their split was messy and included a well-publicized legal wrangle.
She returned to the professional tennis circuit after her retirement, and as of 2004 was playing competitively. In January 2003 she won the Australian Open mixed doubles title with Leander Paes, thus becoming only the third player (after Doris Hart and Margaret Court) to win every possible title (singles, women's doubles, mixed doubles) from the four Grand Slam tournaments. At the same time, at 46 years and 3 months, she became the oldest player, male or female, to have won a Grand Slam title, eclipsing the record set by Norman Brookes, who was a month younger when he won the men's doubles at the Australian Championships in 1924.
In July 2003, again with Leander Paes, she won the Wimbledon mixed doubles, equalling Billie Jean King's record of 20 Wimbledon titles, which is what she came out of retirement specifically to chase. She reached US Open doubles final partnering Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2003, exactly 13 years after her last women's doubles major final. In 2004 she reached two major doubles semifinals and a mixed doubles major final.
Martina's return to tennis sees her still winning Grand Slam doubles titles after the retirement of Martina Hingis, who was named after her.
She made a singles comeback at the French Open 2004, after a gap of 10 years, in which she lost in the first round to Gisela Dulko of Argentina. Later at Wimbledon, Navratilova defeated Catalina Castano of Colombia in the first round, becoming the oldest player to win a singles match since the Open Era began in 1968. She lost to Dulko in the second round.
Grand Slam Singles titles (18)
1978 Wimbledon Chris Evert 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 1979 Wimbledon Chris Evert 6-4, 6-4 1981 Australian Open Chris Evert 6-7, 6-4, 7-5 1982 Roland Garros Andrea Jaeger 7-6, 6-1 1982 Wimbledon Chris Evert 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 1983 Wimbledon Andrea Jaeger 6-0, 6-3 1983 U.S. Open Chris Evert 6-1, 6-3 1983 Australian Open Kathy Jordan 6-2, 7-6 1984 Roland Garros Chris Evert 6-3, 6-1 1984 Wimbledon Chris Evert 7-6, 6-2 1984 U.S. Open Chris Evert 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 1985 Wimbledon Chris Evert 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 1985 Australian Open Chris Evert 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 1986 Wimbledon Hana Mandlikova 7-6, 6-3 1986 U.S. Open Helena Sukova 6-3, 6-2 1987 Wimbledon Steffi Graf 7-5, 6-3 1987 U.S. Open Steffi Graf 7-6, 6-1 1990 Wimbledon Zina Garrison 6-4, 6-1
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